Rec: Fallen Hero: Rebirth

Title: Fallen Hero: Rebirth
Author: Malin Rydén
Format: Online text-based Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game
Published/Free: Published
Length: 380,000
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Possible mentions of past abuse, suicide, alcoholism
Link: https://www.choiceofgames.com/user-contributed/fallen-hero-rebirth/
Summary: Become the greatest telepathic villain Los Diablos has ever known! Once you were famous; soon you will be infamous. That is, unless your old friends in the Rangers stop you first. Juggle different identities and preserve your secrets as you build new alliances and try to forget the friendships you’ve left behind.

Review: In terms of interactive fiction, Fallen Hero: Rebirth may be the best one out there. The intricate and seamless writing introduces a world where superheroes are more than simple ‘do-gooders’ and where everything may not be as it seems. The characters you can romance are fully fleshed out and are truly living and breathing in the city that you may very well destroy…

Rec: The Stars of the Pack

Title: The Stars of the Pack
Author: N.J. Lysk
Format: Series
Published/Free: Free with coupon code SLASH
Length: 35k book 1 (300k+ series)
Status: Series complete
Rating: Mature-Explicit
Warnings: M/M/M/M/M/M, mpreg, dubcon, heat, instincts, a/b/o, depression, complicated situations with people trying their best and sometimes failing, later books contain some noncon and graphic violence.
Link: https://www.njlysk.com/the-stars-of-the-pack
Summary:
Five alphas.
One omega.
The fate of their pack is in their hands.
But what about the fate of their hearts?

When Ray presents as an omega instead of an alpha, his life changes forever. As a male omega, he’s expected to mate with a select group of alphas and start a pack of his own. 

The five men selected for him are as different as they are keen. And one of them is his best friend, Josh, who Ray was sure could never return his feelings. But now they all must deal with the mating instinct that the power of the Moon brings out in them; and after that… Ray will have bigger problems than a crush. 

Can Ray become the submissive omega his pack needs him to be? Will the alphas understand how hard it is for him, or demand more than he can give?

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7avAz_ds4w

Rec: Spitfire

Title: Spitfire
Author: Dean Wax
Format: Short story
Published/Free: Free
Length: 11.4K words / 12 chapters
Status: Complete
Rating: Ultra Mature
Warnings: Nonsexual cannibalism, violence, rape, monster men
Link: ao3 link
Summary: In a world where old gods still roam, a wealthy city in the grips of tyranny has run out of beautiful men to appease their maniacal king; all except the Oracle, that is. Three old men would offer him up to die to save their own skin. When one tears at the strings that Fate is weaving, the consequences can be dire indeed.

Review: I think it’s good but I’m biased because I wrote it. This started out as a writing practice heavily following the rhythms of a fairy tale but then the character of the Oracle got his nails into my muse and I was compelled to finish it. There is technically a Transman x Man pairing in it but it’s not romantic and ultimately beside the point of fates, old gods and treachery. Give it a whirl and see how you go.

Rec: RORY

Title: RORY
Author: VAMPBYTE
Format: Webcomic
Published/Free: Free
Length: Ongoing (currently 14 pg.)
Status: Ongoing
Rating: Teen
Warnings: blood, violence, implied sexual activity, drugging/drugs, death (implied and shown), stalking
Link: http://tapas.io/series/rorycomic
Summary: A cynical male model named Rory just wants to get famous, look good, and make money. He gets the opportunity to do just that when he comes into contact with the elusive and renowned photographer, Roger Van Dijk, who is interested in making Rory the subject of his magnum opus. This dream come true quickly turns into a nightmare, however, as Roger’s artistic vision turns into something much, much stranger. Starring a gay protagonist, RORY is a thriller with mild horror and comedy.

Review: I’m the creator of the series so I can’t really give an unbiased review, but RORY has a mixture of genres that can appeal to almost anyone. If you like dark humor, cynicism, cute art and suspense then you might enjoy this! (Note: The story focuses on a gay protagonist who gets himself intimately involved with another man, but this story is not a romance! At least not for long.)  

Rec: Can’t A Guy Visit A Friend?

Title: Can’t A Guy Visit A Friend
Author: TheCaliMack
Format: Short Story
Published/Free: Free
Status: Complete
Rating: Teen/Mature (depends)
Warnings: mentions of suicide
Link: AO3 | GayAuthors.org
Summary: Miguel comes to visit his friend Tristan, but notices something is amiss when the man opens his door to him.

Intuition has never failed him before, but it never prepared him for what he’d see.

Review: I’m sharing my own work, but reviews so far mention it as moving and heartbreaking and one of the most emotional writings they have ever read. I felt honored and I thought I’d share it some more with the rest of you.

No one dies. That’s all I’m saying.

Rec: Can’t a Guy Visit a Friend?

Title: Can’t a Guy Visit a Friend?
Author: TheCaliMack
Format: Short Story
Published/Free: Free
Length: 2779 words
Status: Complete
Rating: T
Warnings: Mentions of Attempted Suicide (though not graphic at all)
Link: AO3 link  GayAuthors link
Summary: Miguel comes to visit his friend Tristan, but notices something is amiss when the man opens his door to him.

Intuition has never failed him before, but it never prepared him for what he’d see.

Review: Reviewing my own story seems sort of moot, but the comments and reviews I got from the websites all tell me that my work was quite the tear-jerker. It’s a cathartic piece that is a great blend of sweetness and angst, ending on a heart-warming note. Read and you’ll see what I mean.

Rec: Judgement, Part 1: Bag of Tools (Series)

Title: Judgement, Part 1: Bag of Tools
Author: Mexta (AO3), Mexta (Blogspot, complete list of her other original works)
Format: Novel (Book one of planned trilogy)
Published/Free: Free
Length: 85,368 words (24 chapters)
Status: Finished
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Violence. Abuse, including underage. Noncon and dubcon. Voluntary submission, masochism, D/s. Large age gap. Sex, mainly implied. Dubious morality. Slavery too (but weirdly consensual, just read it, you’ll understand)
Link: AO3 for book 1, index of complete works (except the third book)
Summary: This is Tom’s story. Born in the near-future and growing up on the desolate streets of one of the last inner city neighborhoods, he’s a local kingpin before he reaches adolescence. Facing a bleak future, he looks for a way out – and finds it when he’s adopted by a wealthy, well-known family. But what happens when a boy who’s never known innocence gets a second chance at childhood?

Review: Absolutely engaging story. 

It’s such an exquisite writing with really advanced characterization and character development. In terms of plot, it’s not grandeur or larger-than-life, but the pacing and the story gradual transformation is so gripping and it’s just pulling you in. The world-building is also absolutely grounded and realistic but also elaborate and creative at the same time. It doesn’t feel like the writer is trying to make an explosive or huge-deal world, but it’s intricate in its own way. 

This isn’t exactly “slash” or LGBTQ+ centered story, but I think that’s the best part of it. It’s so normalized in the universe (including polyamory and everything) that it’s not taking you away from the core message of the story. Being queer here isn’t queer.

It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re into morality conflict story, this is the one for you. It definitely deserves much bigger recognition.

Rec: The Handmaiden

Title: The Handmaiden
Director: Park Chan-wook
Format: Movie
Published/Free: Published
Length: 2h24
Status: Complete
Rating: Ultra Mature
Warnings: Soft porn, torture, bdsm, suicide, violent death, child abuse
Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4016934/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Summary: 1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, a new girl (Sookee) is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress (Hideko) who lives a secluded life on a large countryside estate with her domineering Uncle (Kouzuki). But the maid has a secret. She is a pickpocket recruited by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count to help him seduce the Lady to elope with him, rob her of her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. The plan seems to proceed according to plan until Sookee and Hideko discover some unexpected emotions.

Review: I just watched it yesterday (it’s still on air in some areas). The movie is inspired by Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. I have yet to read the book, but I’m pretty sure only the rough plot is identical. I do not believe readers will be disappointed, since it’s not an adaptation and rather an inspiration. 

I know that Park Chan-wook fans will recognize his specific style and appreciate this film. As someone who is not really into his work or thrillers in general, I have to say that this movie was really impressive. I loved the way the historical context (Japanese occupation) was skillfully used in order to create some realistic background to the story. The decors and the costumes are also very impressive. This kind of details can really bring you into the atmosphere of the film, just like the music (it’s awesome). I also liked the structure of the film (three parts). 

I’m not the best at predicting ends but this movie really surprised me all along, and that without losing me along the way. It puts me off when a director tries to connect everything so much that it doesn’t makes sense at the end (see Collateral Beauty for a recent example). So I really liked the end! 

The actors are also pretty good, even though I find Kim Tae-ri as Sookee more impressive than Kim Min-hee as Hideko. They did a great job together though.
The biggest cons of the film were for me the ‘gore scenes’, the fact that some scenes with Hideko looked strange/inconsistent to me (what she did, the way she did things) and the length of the sex scenes. Some of it was hot, and even refreshing from what you can see in other mainstream films or series (concerning plot/technics of filming) but it still felt too long at some points and filmed by a guy. Yes there’s symbolism in those scenes, it’s not just for ‘the male gaze’. Do I think that a wlw would have expressed that symbolism differently, in a more radical way? Yes, absolutely.
Still, I wouldn’t mind to watch it again. It’s not like there’s well portrayed lesbians on the big screen everyday. 

The original movie is in Korean and Japanese, subtitles are available in over 12 languages.

Rec: After Midnight

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Title: After Midnight
Author: Santino Hassell
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Published
Length: 250 pages
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: None given.
Link: https://www.amazon.com/After-Midnight-Santino-Hassell-ebook/dp/B00F7J1UYO
Summary: After Midnight is a standalone spinoff novel of the free series In the Company of Shadows.

Gordon Frost is a survivor. He survived a war that ravaged the nation, and he made it through the orphanages and crime-ridden slums that followed. With few prospects for the future, Gordon carved out a niche for himself in the expanding drug trade of Lexington, PA. It’s not pretty, but it’s his, and it beats what he was doing before. But a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time results in a brush with death, going by the name of Adam. Afterward, the life that seemed good enough before, isn’t quite the same.

Adam Blake is an assassin on the brink of being terminated by the very organization that controls him. He completed his mission, but not without being seen. With his secrets in danger of being exposed by Gordon, Adam knows he should kill the smart-mouthed redhead, but finds himself intrigued by the troublesome civilian instead.

When Gordon’s knack for finding trouble combines with the dangerous consequences of Adam’s indecision, their worlds intertwine in an explosive way.

Review: [Note: this review was written while the work was still a work-in-progress.] It has a lot of promise. I am looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. As I’m worthless at actually reviewing stories, I’ll leave it at that. This rec is so worth it just because Sonny wrote it. And that is enough reason to read the story in my opinion. All I can do is urge you all.
Check it out 😛

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Rec: Beyond the Pale

Title: Beyond the Pale
Author: Kagamino Kage
Format: Short Story
Published/Free: Free
Status: Complete
Rating: Ultra-mature
Warnings: Hm, non-con? Maybe.
Link: http://s2b2.livejournal.com/67673.html
Summary: There was a seed deep within the earth, scorched and blackened. It pulsed with life, a deep throbbing he felt through the soles of his feet.

He found his tongue was made of clay and paper, and it was growing soft and dissolving in his mouth. Reaching into his mouth to rid himself of the foul substance, he found a string, sticky with saliva; he pulled at the string, and felt something bulging up his throat. He coughed, and out came a small broken clock, still ticking even though its hands had ceased to move long ago. He kept pulling: out came a beautiful egg, colored in delicate shades of peacock blue and green, a large crack running all the way down its side, oozing out the premature life inside.

Review: I’ve found myself vastly becoming addicted to S2b2. Everything there (at least what I’ve stumbled across) seems so well-written that it makes it a sort of reprieve from having to minimize the not-so-well-written fiction on sites like FP and AFF (not that all are bad there or anything, just a lot lately).

This particular story stood out amongst the handful of others I’ve read as of lately. There was something about the way it was told that made it so unique, chilling and so dang mind-boggling that I really wish there was more to it. In fact, I’d be ecstatic if this wasn’t just a short story, but a full length novel. But sadly, it isn’t. The good thing about that is, you don’t have to wait forever to find out the ending, and in this case, that’d be trifling to have to do.

I can’t really say much about the story itself without giving it away. I will say that the summary is just the first paragraph of the story, which all S2b2’s entries seem to be of. So I know it seems a bit… weird, but trust me, it’s good and I guarantee it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next and why.

In addition to how well it’s written, the characters are also very real and enjoyable. There isn’t any awkward, straining dialogue, or characters that aren’t fleshed out; they’re believable, intriguing, and realistic – and I was especially intrigued by the magician, which I’m sure you will be too 😉

Anyway, if you haven’t yet read this, I highly recommend that you give it a shot. The only warning I will give you is that it is darkly-themed and is written a little differently – which you’ll find out as you read it.

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